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Reflections on Peace, Gratitude, and Sharing: A Journey Towards Contentment (178)

Almost a year ago yesterday, I returned to Bach Dang Wharf (Bến Bạch Đằng) in Vietnam with my childhood friends. Almost a year prior, on the same river, my aunt suddenly asked me if I could have one wish, what it would be. I answered her while the camera was rolling. I wished for peace - peace in my home, mind, soul and with everyone around me. Last night, I silently thanked the universe for answering my prayer. I feel completely at peace now.

One thing I practice daily is appreciating everything I have. I often count my blessings rather than dwelling on what I lack. Though there have been times when I lost almost everything, I still managed to approach life with hope. This practice has saved me from feeling depressed.

Everyone who lives long enough will encounter various difficulties, whether related to health, finances, children, or relationships. No one can escape these challenges; they are simply part of life - the ups and downs. The art of living lies in learning to navigate through both lows and highs. Don't be too despair when you're down, and avoid blaming others for your misfortunes. Learn to accept and work on them daily, as only you can turn situations around. Prayers can help, and leaning on your faith can aid in overcoming stress, but you still have to put in the hard work. What sets me apart from many is that I didn't turn to alcohol or substances during tough times, recognizing they offer only temporary relief and can lead to more troubles when control is lost.

To this day, I've made it a practice to share my blessings with others, whether it's a piece of cake, medicated oil, or a piece of chocolate. I find fulfillment in sharing and also make it a point to laugh daily. Every night I watch comedy videos and laugh out loud. I also learn to laugh with my dear friends. Laughter is a great stress reliever and the best medicine.

Riches and poverty are subjective. Living in a big house doesn't necessarily make one richer than someone living in a shack, nor does driving a brand-name car signify greater affluence than riding a bike. Sometimes, those with less feel happier because they have fewer worries. It's all about living within your means and finding joy and appreciation in what you have.

As always, I am thankful for everything I have - my health, family, good friends, and this life. Thank You. ♥️

Crystal H. Vo

Feb. 7, 2024

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